New Musicals Workshop: A True Experience – Take 1

New Musicals Workshop: A True Experience – Take 1

Musical theater majors who decide to embark on their academic journey at Millikin University are immersed in a variety of hands-on learning opportunities once they arrive on campus, from performances to backstage work. Among these opportunities that take place at the start of the spring semester is an innovative program that often leads to “real world” results called the New Musicals Workshop.

Established in 2007, the New Musicals Workshop is exactly what it sounds like…it’s a workshop for musicals. But it’s more than that – it’s a collaborative experience. Students work with real professional writing teams to develop new musicals for commercial production.

Millikin’s School of Theater and Dance is one of the few institutions across the country to have a program like this, and it’s no longer a secret. The program has been recognized by the Broadway community as an opportunity for established writers to develop new musicals destined for Broadway and beyond.

Over the years, we’ve recapped some of the latest workshops to get an idea of ​​what the program is all about. However, this past January (2022), we took a fresh approach to telling the story of the New Musicals workshop with a series of “takes” from the faculty, writers, and students as they see it.

Millikin New Musicals Workshop

Last January, New York writers Brandon James Gwinn, EllaRose Chary, Taylor Ferrera and Matthew Webster were welcomed to campus to work with students on their new musical concepts.

Take 1: The Faculty

Lori Bales, Professor at the School of Theater and Dance, and Kevin Long, Artist-in-Residence at the School of Music and School of Theater and Dance, have slowly built the New Musicals Workshop program since 2007 by introducing from emerging playwrights to talented Millikin students.

“What it gives students is real professional experience. It’s not an undergraduate experience, they’re working at a professional level with professionals,” Bales said. “They are being asked to bring their skills immediately and right away…they don’t have a lot of time to practice.”

According to Bales, students sometimes have to learn songs overnight. “Vocational training doesn’t get any better than this,” she added.

Long says several Millikin alumni who have gone through the program, even those currently in New York, are the first to be called by the conductors they met at New Musicals if they need help. a voice-over or recording work to do.

“It’s great professional development for lasting relationships between students and artists,” Long said. “Several alumni have told us that it was one of the best experiences in terms of launching their professional careers.”

Take 2 of the New Musicals: A True Experience workshop is coming soon.

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